When Are Palpitations a Cause for Concern?

When Are Palpitations a Cause for Concern?

A heart palpitation is an irregular heartbeat. It may only last a second or two, but it feels different than your heart’s normal rhythm. It can make you become very aware of your heartbeat — and you might begin to worry about your health.

Palpitations are fairly common. In fact, they can be caused by anything from a strenuous workout to an extra cup of coffee. Most palpitations go away on their own, and experiencing the occasional irregular heartbeat doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong with your heart.

That being said, it’s important to listen to your body and know when it’s time to make a doctor’s appointment. Palpitations can sometimes be a sign of arrhythmia, a chronic heart condition that requires close monitoring. 

Kunal Patel, MD, and our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute specialize in diagnosing palpitations and treating chronic arrhythmias. If you’re concerned about your heart, here’s what you should know about heart palpitations and what could be causing them.

Palpitations: a sign of a heart arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a heart condition that develops when your heart beats irregularly, too slowly, or too quickly. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, or Afib.

On its own, Afib generally isn’t life-threatening. However, having Afib increases your risk of blood clots, heart failure, stroke, and other heart conditions.

Experiencing heart palpitations doesn’t always mean you have an underlying heart condition, and it’s important to learn the differences so you can get the care you need.

Identifying harmless palpitations

Harmless heart palpitations happen once in a while, and they can usually be traced to a clear trigger. These triggers often include:

In these cases, palpitations are generally short-lived and infrequent.

Recognizing the signs of a more serious issue

On the other hand, the cause of palpitations from arrhythmia and Afib may not be so easy to identify. Your palpitations may be a sign of an underlying heart condition if you have:

If these symptoms sound familiar, you may have an underlying heart condition, and you should make a cardiology appointment for further evaluation. 

Seeking treatment for heart palpitations

Experiencing heart palpitations can be scary. If you're concerned about your heart health, never hesitate to make a doctor’s appointment. Dr. Patel and our team offer comprehensive heart evaluations, and we can identify any potential issues so you can get the care you need.

We start with a thorough review of your medical history and a physical exam. Depending on your symptoms, we may order a stress test or an echocardiogram to gather more details about how your heart functions.

Heart palpitations are often so brief that it’s difficult to catch them in a single doctor’s appointment. To reach a diagnosis, we may have you wear a heart monitor for a few days or weeks to evaluate any recurring irregularities.

If you have Afib or another type of arrhythmia, identifying the condition gives you the opportunity to manage it. We offer ongoing heart care and personalized treatment plans to help you better protect your health.

Concerned about irregular heartbeats? Book an appointment with our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute to ease your mind. Call one of our offices in Lakewood, Newark, Paramus, or Secaucus, New Jersey, or send us a message online now.

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